UTM Celebrates International Women's Day: Sophia Johnson

Sophia Johnson
Dr. Sophia N. Johnson, political economist, scholar-activist and author of the forthcoming book, “So You Want to be An Economist?” Photo by Roberto Ligresti and courtesy of Dr. Johnson. 

Dr. Sophia N. Johnson, an illustrious UTM alumna, is a political economist with over 15 years of experience in the field. She is deeply committed to amplifying the voices of women in economics and building a more diverse, inclusive community.

Her academic journey began at UTM, where she completed a Bachelor of Arts in political science and history, nurturing a passion for global affairs and public policy that would define her career trajectory. She went on to earn a master’s degree in political science and a Ph.D. in global affairs from Rutgers University. 

Dr. Johnson is an academic expert with extensive leadership experience. She recently led Columbia University’s Program for Economic Research – a globally renowned program addressing the economic challenges, trends and policies affecting people around the world.  In this role, she led strategic engagement with key public and private partners, developed an institutional grant-making framework, and spearheaded a major campaign to diversify and enrich the field of economics. She was also host of Columbia University’s Live Economic Series – a weekly webinar featuring prominent finance and business leaders sharing insights on critical issues shaping the global economy.   

She has taught at New York University, Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs (SIPA), and Seton Hall University’s School of Diplomacy and International Affairs. She has also served as Visiting Scholar at the American Institute of Indian Studies (AIIS), the Developing Countries’ Research Centre at Delhi University, Population Research Centre at the University of Kashmir, and the Centre for Development Studies, also in India.   

When she is not on campus teaching these days, Dr. Johnson leads a team of brilliant creatives and non-profit collaborators to produce high-quality educational programming for public television. She is the host of FSTV’s flagship public affairs series, “Feminism Today,” a weekly survey of major news stories on advocacy and activism around the world. She was also the host and executive producer of “The Feminist Perspective,” a series examining the economics and politics of women’s rights, which aired on several PBS stations. 

Looking ahead, her new book, “So You Want to Be An Economist?” is slated for publication by Columbia University Press later this year. The book casts light on perceptions and opinions in the profession and offers an important self-reflection on the field and how to succeed in it.

“I am grateful for the support I received as a young scholar at UTM,” she said recently. “I am also eager to do what I can to enrich the academic experience and support the next generation of leaders through programs like the UTM Black Alumni Mentorship Program.”

Dr. Johnson’s multifaceted career reflects her passion for exploring the world, and her unwavering dedication to building inclusive economies. Through her efforts, she is advocating for the next generation of scholars, helping to shape global agendas to enable meaningful and enduring impact. We proudly celebrate her commitment to challenging the status quo and striving for a more equitable and just society.